Living in Santa Fe, you need not venture far to find a country road. If you’re here during the opening weekend of Currents, you can travel a country road without leaving the Railyard. Alabama-based multimedia artist Jane Cassidy, originally from Galway, Ireland, brings the experience of riding the dark and lonely backroads of the American South to Santa Fe in her immersive outdoor installation Music for Cars at Night on Country Roads. “There was a commission I was working on for a radio station in France,” Cassidy told Pasatiempo. “They asked me to create a half-hour of music. All the work I make is pretty much site-specific and has audio and visual and a life component as well, usually.” After recording the commissioned album, Cassidy, an assistant professor of digital media at the University of Alabama, whose background is in music composition and animation, was approached by Cinema Reset, a program of the New Orleans Film Festival that focuses on experimental films, to do an installation. She decided to use the music commissioned by the French radio station as the basis for her project.

Cassidy only moved to Alabama this year, and her piece, which can be experienced after sundown on the Railyard Plaza on Friday, June 10, and Saturday, June 11, was inspired by certain qualities of night driving as well as the discovery of new vistas. “You get that vacuum of night, and the darkness and the lights create their own meditative experience,” she said. But Cassidy doesn’t drive, a problem for the creation of the piece, which required video footage of a variety of Alabama roads. “I was asking new people I was meeting, ‘Hey, can you drive me out to a dark country road tonight so I can videotape?’ So essentially what I did was I made a half-hour music video to match the album.”

Cassidy mounted a projector to the outside of a Toyota pickup truck. Images of dirt roads, paved roads, and highways at night are projected onto the windshield. The sound comes through the vehicle’s audio system. Visitors are invited to enter as they would any vehicle. Each music track has its own set of imagery, and the video footage is heavily edited to flow with the sounds. “Big long trails of lights to match long distortions of harmonies and things like that,” she said. “It really feels like you’re on a country road. People will go in for a few minutes, and sometimes they’ll stay for an hour or more. The longer you spend with it, the more in tune you are with what’s happening visually and how it’s synchronized to the music. It’s also really conversational. Sometimes you’re sitting in the car with strangers and people start talking about different road trip experiences.”